Crowd savors the experience at Taste of Home Cooking School

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 24, 2012

By Robin M. Perry
For the Salisbury Post
It was like watching your favorite cooking show on TV, only better — because you could smell the aromas of the mushroom tacos and grilled chicken in mango chipotle moo wafting through the auditorium as culinary specialist Michelle Roberts prepared these simple and delicious dishes.
And when she was through, she shared samples.
The 5th Annual Taste of Home Cooking School visited South Rowan High School Tuesday night, treating the more than 600 people in attendance to a night of cooking demonstrations and door prizes, tips and trivia — all related to almost everyone’s favorite subject: food.
Prior to the cooking demonstrations, more than a dozen vendors showed their best, from Celebrating Home and Pampered Chef, with home décor and cookware, to Mary Kay and Chef for a Night.
Ray Shuey of Chef for a Night pronounced himself impressed with the crowd and their enthusiasm in his first time attending the event.
Eli Fisher was there serving up his Little E products. He brought 30 pounds of barbecue to serve with his original and Carolina-style sauces and marinade. Fisher developed his secret recipe during his 12 years in the restaurant business and said the products — branded with his childhood nickname — will soon be available in 200 stores across the state.
While women made up the majority of the crowd, there were a few men scattered throughout the audience. Don Kemp, of Mooresville, came with his wife.
“She bought me a ticket,” said Kemp, a former firefighter. “I bought a cook book and enjoy cooking, now that I am retired.”
Carla Anderson, Nancy Dickey, Jennifer Graves and Jill Clay were all attending the cooking show for a girl’s night out. All agreed it was a fun time and that they may make it an annual event. Dickey, of Concord, said she has a subscription to the Taste of Home magazine and was glad to see the event in person.
Helen Gordon of Salisbury attended for the second time.
“I enjoy cooking and watching Michelle Roberts,” Gordon said. “She’s funny and makes the recipes fun.��
With great ease and a sense of humor, Michelle whipped up a peanut butter cheesecake, asparagus strudel and Mexican shrimp bisque, among other dishes.
In between dishes, door prizes were awarded to lucky winners who shouted out, “I love food!” when their name was called. The grand prizes were a complete gas grill and a sterling silver and black diamond necklace from Falls Jewelers.
Taste of Home describes itself as the world’s leading food media brand, publishing more than 40 special interest recipe collections each year for sale at retail and grocery stores, along with dozens of cookbooks, and hosting more than 300 cooking schools around the country annually.
Walmart was the presenting sponsor of this event, and representatives from the company’s Salisbury, Kannapolis, Lexington and Mocksville stores provided food samples for tasting.
Here is one of the many recipes prepared by Michelle Roberts:
Mexican shrimp bisque
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup water
[0xbd] cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons sodium-free chicken bouillon granules,
[0xbd] teaspoon ground cumin
[0xbd] teaspoon ground coriander
[0xbd] pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
[0xbd] cup sour cream
In a small saucepan, sauté onion in oil until tender. Add garlic, cook 1 minute longer. Stir in flour until blended. Stir in the water, cream, chili powder, bouillon, cumin and coriander; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 5 minutes.
Cut shrimp into bite–size pieces; add to soup. Simmer 5 minutes longer or until shrimp turn pink. Gradually stir [0xbd] cup hot soup into sour cream; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Heat through (do not boil).
Yields 3 cups.